Posted by: monsonmadness | June 14, 2011


Last Saturday I decided it was time for a haircut. The shaggy look in the heat wasn’t working. So, after buying a few more cleaning supplies, I went looking for a barber’s shop. After driving for a few minutes I found one, a small cinderblock building. I parked and stepped inside. My first concern was price. I didn’t want to get all the way to the end and then get a $40 bill. Besides, I only had about $15 cash and this didn’t look like a credit card kind of shop.

Inside, two old men were sitting, one by the barber’s chair, the other on a bench upholstered in red vinyl. They both raised their eyebrows when I stepped in. I tried closing the door behind me, but it wouldn’t catch. The man on the bench grunted, which I understood meant don’t worry about it. I didn’t.

“How much?” I asked.

The men looked at each other.

“Price?” I tried.

Finally I saw a white board on the wall with prices. Kids were $8. Adults, where were the adult prices.

“Ten dall’a,” the guy on the bench said.

Then I saw it. Adult cuts — $10. I had ten dollars. The barber motioned me over to the chair. The sheet went on and tucked in around my neck like normal – good sign. He ran a comb through my hair. Was he getting it ready to cut or trying to figure out why it wasn’t black and curly? I wasn’t sure.

The barber grunted. It was deep and throaty and may have been a Samoan word. I couldn’t be sure.

“Um, business man,” I said. It was a term of art I had heard other barbers use to describe the sort of haircut I was after. I hoped he would recognize it. No luck.

He shook his head. “Short,” I said.

“Sho,” he said.

I tried to show him with my fingers. He didn’t seem interested. Spinning my chair, he pointed a comb at the posters on the wall displaying hundreds of young men in profile, each sporting a different haircut. Good. I menu. I can order up what I want. Let’s see, where are the photos of the business men, the elders, the white people. None, none, none. All black. Tight stiff curls carved with names, images of athletes, lines, and shapes.

“Huh?” the barber grunted pointing at the wall again.

“No, not exactly, I don’t see…”

Apparently out of patience, the barber turned the chair so I wasn’t facing the mirror, snatched his electric clippers, and went to work.

He came at my hair from interesting angles, not using his free hand or a comb to pull the hair away from my head. He was carving more than cutting. My only hope lay in the fact that very little hair was falling, whatever the damage was at least it wasn’t deep. But then again, for $10 I didn’t want to be shaggy again in a week.

After two or three minutes, he pulled out a straight razor, cleaned up my neck, slapped on some aftershave stuff and spun me around. Not as much damage as I had expected, but not much improvement either.

He spun me around again and pulled off the sheet. Wait! Ten dollars for two minutes and a fraction of an inch of hair, I don’t think so. “Shorter,” I said. I’m a black belt in charades; I’ll get my point across. I lifted my hair with one hand and showed him the length. I made scissors with my other hand and demonstrated just to make sure he got the point.

Another grunt and the sheet when back on. He didn’t bother to tuck it in around the collar this time. More carving. More locks of hair gathering around me. Another two minutes, a spin in the chair, a quick look in the mirror. Fine. I decided to cut my losses (bad figure of speech I realize given the situation).

I handed over the ten bucks and headed out to my car for a better look. Let’s just say, if I were relying on my looks for success in life, I would have gone in and demanded my money back. But since my looks are, if not a liability, at least not an asset, I decided to live with it. At least the hair was off my neck. I ran my fingers through my hair to shake out some of the follicle shrapnel and drove home to do some more cleaning.



  1. Just loved the “Haircut” experience!!! Sounds so funny but realise not for you!!! Would have done it for “FREE”!!! But would you have missed the experience!!! Maybe yes!!!!

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